Are Your Cancer Survival Issues Not Getting the Attention They Deserve, Repeat after Me, “You’re Fired!”


You don’t have to be a corporate CEO with bad hair and a TV show to authoritatively state, “You’re fired!”  As cancer survivors, we have the right to work with professionals who are responsive, competent and compassionate.   If we can’t get the care we deserve, then we have a duty to ourselves to terminate the relationship and find a better situation.

I learned the hard way not to waste my time when my husband and I endured five years of miscarriages and infertility before our first child was born 17 years ago.  After my first miscarriage, my obstetrician said, “Come back when you’re pregnant.”  After my second miscarriage, he said the same thing.  When a third pregnancy wasn’t happening as quickly as the first two, we went to a second doctor who talked to us and then said, “Come back when you’re pregnant.”

That process took about three years out of our lives.  Finally, a friend, who happens to be a doctor, asked us why we had yet to consult an infertility specialist.  It was a good question and I am eternally grateful to him for asking it.  We went, were tested and given the appropriate corrective procedures.  Within two years, our daughter was born.

My cancer journey started out the same way.  My gynecologist, who started the process by ordering the original questionable mammogram, never called me to discuss the results.  He left that to a nurse.  Worse, when she told me I needed to be seen by a breast surgeon, she didn’t  tell me why.  Because I had no tumor, but “only” microcalcifications and atypical hyperplasia, I was left with the impression that my condition only needed monitoring.  Imagine my shock when I was informed that I was in her office for a surgical biopsy. Needless to say, I fired him and now see a different gynecologist.

I bring this up because I had to fire someone again the other day.  I didn’t want to do it, but waiting a month for a return phone call is a bit unreasonable.  (I am still patient, just not to a fault.)  If I have learned anything from my experiences with infertility and cancer, it’s that my time is precious and my issues are important. How has your cancer experience affected the way you deal with the professionals in your life?

Survival > Existence,


Image courtesy of Ryan

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